A hibachi restaurant features a traditional Japanese method of preparing food over an iron grill at a table right in front of the customers. Hibachi chefs are known for putting on flamboyant shows, flipping shrimp into their chefs’ hats and sometimes even throwing and catching knives. If you want to embark on a career as a hibachi chef, you’ll need more than just cooking skills. You’ll need to be an enthusiastic entertainer. Professional hibachi chefs might put on eight hour-long performances for table after table of customers every night.
Get a job at a hibachi restaurant. Most hibachi chefs are trained on-site. You probably won’t get hired as a hibachi chef immediately unless you have experience working a grill in another restaurant. That’s OK. Try to get a job as a sous (assistant) chef. Sous chefs don’t work in the dining room in front of the customers. They work in the back kitchen preparing things for the hibachi chefs. You might be slicing meat or vegetables. You could also be preparing sauces. If you can’t get a job as a sous chef, then try to get a job doing kitchen prep.
Inform your boss immediately that your long-term goal is to work as a hibachi chef in the restaurant. On the one hand, you might impress your new boss with your dedication and ambition. On the other, you could find out that your restaurant only imports hibachi chefs trained in Japan. In either case, your boss can advise you as to the best way you can meet your goal, either in your current restaurant, or in another after you gain more experience. Note that if you get hired as kitchen prep, it could take you several years to be promoted to hibachi chef.
Do your absolute best work at your job every day, no matter how mundane or unimportant you find your current position. Show up for work on time looking neat and clean and keep your work area spotless. Always follow your restaurant’s policies down to the letter and don’t slack off or try to take shortcuts or leave early. It costs restaurants money to train new hibachi chefs. You want to demonstrate to your boss that you are a very good investment.
Maintain a good attitude toward your work, your coworkers and your customers at all times. Hibachi chefs are entertainers. You must be friendly and personable to work as a hibachi chef. Do not complain or argue with your coworkers, even if you consider them your competition. You want to show your boss that you are able to keep your cool under pressure. This demonstrates that you are capable of working in the dining room with customers, who may sometimes be rude or drunk.
Remind your boss that your goal is to work as a hibachi chef. You don’t want to seem pushy or aggressive, but it’s a good idea to assert yourself and strive to achieve your goals. If you’ve been working at your current position for more than one year and your boss shows no interest in promoting you, it may be time to start looking at other hibachi restaurants. This is especially the case if other employees hired after you have already been promoted.
Start your hibachi training, once you get promoted to hibachi chef. Hibachi training takes approximately six months to complete. At first, you will probably be preparing food only for your coworkers. You’ll need to spend hours practicing your tricks before you are ready to work in front of customers.
Stay at your first job as a hibachi chef for at least two years. If a restaurant has invested six months in training you, it’s only fair that you work there long enough to make the investment worthwhile. Even if you’ve decided to move on to another, better, hibachi restaurant, you’ll want a good reference from your first employer.